Two grassroots climate advocacy groups in Montana strongly criticized President Trump’s decision today to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“This does not make America great again,” said Jeffrey Smith, coordinator of 350Montana. “Quite the opposite. By abdicating American leadership on climate, Trump is undercutting clean energy jobs in Montana. He’s increasing the risk of megafire, parched rivers like we saw in the Yellowstone last summer, burnt crops, and extreme weather events across the state.”
“The Paris Agreement is the backbone of international action to tackle the greatest challenge facing our society,” said Melissa Hartman, co-coordinator of Glacier Climate Action. More than 190 nations agreed to the Paris agreement in 2015, she said. “Now we find the United States in the lonely company of Syria and Nicaragua in rejecting an international solution. Our nation is better than that. This is not who we are.”
The U.S. is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gas pollution, Hartman said, representing nearly 18 percent of the globe’s emissions. Her group is concerned that other nations who agreed to participate in Paris because of U.S. leadership will now withdraw their support.
Scientists already have documented substantial warming across Montana in recent decades, and this is projected to accelerate without a faster transition to clean energy and conservation. Compared to observed historical temperatures, average warming across Montana is projected to be about 4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050 if emissions are not rapidly reduced.
A Montana Wildlife Federation study said doing nothing about climate change will cost 11,000 jobs by 2050 with $281 million income at stake due to stream closures, lost hunting opportunities, wildfires, and reduced snowpack. Another study by the Montana Farmers Union said rejecting the Paris accords and continuing the status quo will impact grain producers with reduced yields costing $372 million and 12,500 jobs by 2055. For cattle ranchers, we’re looking at a 20 percent drop in rangeland cattle production. That’s a $364 million wallop in earnings, costing 2,000 jobs.
Glacier Climate Action and 350Montana are local affiliates of 350.org, an international organization that has mobilized grassroots advocates around the world to support climate solutions for our future.